So yesterday IBM and the Watson team had some symposium for Harvard Business School and MIT Sloan students. WHATEVER, right?  But, part of this event was open to Regular People and included a talk by Dr. David Ferrucci (it was interesting, also I wonder if he has one of these in his office - I didn’t ask).  Anyway, after his talk there was a mock Jeopardy round - 3 HBS students against 3 MIT students against WATSON. 

Unfortunately for purists, they had this terrible system wherein all 3 team members from each school had a buzzer, and they could all sort of huddle up before responding to the clue.  This resulted in a number of lockouts and a bunch of family feud style whisper-storms followed by (frequently wrong, in MIT’s case) responses.

Harvard had a couple advantages: they were on their home turf, and one of their players was a former contestant.  MIT had one big asset, an enormous, obnoxious asshole of a human being who sat next to me and bellowed out encouragement as if this scrimmage were a big-10 game.  Harvard beat MIT handily, but Watson beat them both.  It was pretty alright.

Oh p.s. everyone who attended got a baseball hat with Watson’s logo on it. What an age to be alive!

Here’s the idea. Invite friends over to watch Watson’s epic match—and use these party kits (download below). Ayesha Mirza and her team at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt came up with these kits. They include bingo cards, ID badges, even Alex Trebek paste-on mustaches—and of course some info about the book.

In the ideal scenario, of course, we’d have thousands of parties in book stores. Everyone would watch the match and then on the evening of the Feb. 16, buy the book—which has a final chapter on the match. But the hardback books don’t go on sale until the following day, Feb. 17. So these kits are a way to get the book into the parties.


download: FinalJeopardy_PartyKit.pdf

Via Stephen Baker, who has a book coming out about this whole affair.